Keeping Continuity

Overview

Overview

The following sections will detail different aspects of a shared-continuity universe spanning several different campaigns, goals, and styles. Note that while the shared-continuity approach is emblematic of the source material (comics, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe), it is entirely optional.


Multiple DMs + Games

Multiple Dungeon Masters + Games

The most faithful approach to shared continuity is using multiple DMs and players. This is similar to the multiple writers and artists, or screen writers and film directors that help build upon the ground that others have broken before. 

It’s likely to also be the most challenging as well. It requires the DMs to be in constant contact, sharing and shaping the larger universe together. From a gameplay standpoint it also requires that each DM adopt similar approaches to mechanics, leveling, and player safety. It adds a level of cooperation and sacrifice that is surplus to a standard D&D game.

It also complexifies elements for the player as well. It’s assumed that each player would only control one hero, and they might be needed in multiple campaigns over time, with different DMs.

The trade off is that it allows multiple DMs to identify their corners of the universe and develop them with greater individual care.

Ping Pong

An alternate option is the “ping pong” method where the same group of players and DM rotate titles and plots as necessary or desired. The advantage of this approach is that it allows for total control and understanding by a single party and DM. It also gives players the chance to see how events from one campaign impact the other and vice versa. It’s a full 360 view of the world.

The trade off is that it puts a much larger burden on a single DM and actually complexifies the preparation needed to essentially run several games inside a larger universe.

It can also be distracting and distancing for players. Over the course of different missions and plots, players will naturally gain a preference for individual characters. Asking them to then jump into a different character, playing through a story that does not immediately address the character and plots that they’re partial to can be a dissatisfying experience. It also multiplies the amount of notes they’ll need to take!


Solo Campaigns

solo Campaigns

Dungeons and Dragons games are often built around the concept of “team.” The party is often the focal point of campaign design. However, comic books and movies thrive on singular stories and how they reflect or build up to these larger team moments. Marvel Overpower encourages DMs to run and integrate solo (or small team) stories, much like its source material. It’s entirely possible to start with several solo campaigns that intertwine, building an Avengers team, just like the MCU!

External Continuity

Note that while the internal continuity of the universe, and the campaigns within it are important, external continuity is not. This means that players are not required to have an extensive (or much knowledge of either Marvel Comics or the Marvel Cinematic Universe at all). Campaigns can play with as much or as little external continuity as intended by the players.

For example, let’s say a player is really interested in playing Spider-Gwen, but, doesn’t know how that would conflict with a Spider-Man player whose comic backstory includes the death of Gwen Stacy. The comics solve this approach by making Spider-Gwen an alternate reality Gwen Stacy. That needlessly fussy for a campaign backstory, so it’s recommended that player and DM agree that Spider-Gwen just is part of the same universe. The rationale used is ultimately not important unless the Spider-Gwen player is interested in being from an alternate reality as part of her back story.

If players are more familiar with an MCU version of a character—like say, Valkyrie (as portrayed by Tessa Thompson)—let them play that version. Even if it’s as part of the Night Shift team that has Shadowland as a Hub, which doesn’t exist in the MCU. Ultimately, this is all minutiae that won’t impact the game at all. Players should play Marvel heroes as they want to play them, and only need to acknowledge what is important to their backstory, and the internal continuity that will come from the campaign.

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